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Farmer warns owners marauding dogs will be shot after pregnant sheep are slaughtered

Sickening sight: Some of the sheep killed in the Keady attack
Sickening sight: Some of the sheep killed in the Keady attack

By James Gant

A farmer has spoken of his anger after 12 of his sheep were killed by three vicious dogs.

Alan Faloon, from Madden Road near Keady, believes the attack happened between Sunday night and Monday morning.

Nine of the animals were pregnant.

The 43-year-old caught a husky-type dog and two Alsatians mauling a lamb which was stuck in a wire fence while he was on the school run on Monday morning.

He fired two shots at them with a rifle and thought he injured one, but they escaped.

At this stage, it is not known where the dogs came from.

Mr Faloon said: "I am annoyed, but it's one of those things, you just get them and that's it.

"I just hope they don't come back and the owner sorts them out."

The distraught farmer said that he hoped the dogs would not return to his property, but warned that if they reappeared, he would have no choice but to shoot them in order to protect his flock.

Conor Donnelly, a director at Orchard Veterinary Practice, who attended the incident, described the shocking scene he encountered after the attack.

He said that the sheep had suffered wounds "wherever the dogs could get their teeth into them".

"Really, I wouldn't hold back with the devastating scene of destruction and death and mauling that these animals received," he added. "Each year you may get a case of a couple of sheep killed from time to time, but for a dozen to be lost in a single occasion like this is quite a bad case."

The field had 19 sheep in it at the time and Mr Donnelly said there could yet be further fatalities due to stress the animals experienced during the attack.

"When dogs attack sheep like that they tend to chase them around the place and, rather than attacking one and eating it, they would attack as many of them as they can and the sheep are really just chased to the point of exhaustion," he said.

"There is the potential for the other sheep to die later from the stress of it all or abort their lambs as well over the next few weeks."

It was a crucial time of the year for the sheep, which were heavily in lamb and due to give birth in February.

Mr Faloon has estimated the cost at between £150-£300 per sheep.

Mr Donnelly, who will monitor the flock in the coming days, added: "The absolute message is you have to know where your dog is and have it restrained at all times, to prevent cases like this happening again."

Belfast Telegraph